Women behind the lens: ‘She dreams of competing outside Pakistan but it’s hopeless’

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, 11/03/2022, 10:15 am

Khaula Jamil explores the difficulties faced by Bengali-speakers in Pakistan, and how they are filtering down the generations

There are two kinds of Bengalis in Pakistan. The first are those who were living in West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) and chose to remain after the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 (formerly known as East Pakistan). The second are the Bengalis who chose to migrate to Pakistan after the war of separation, through the 1980s.

Regardless of category, there is a clause in the nationality laws of Pakistan that dealt with the separation, giving those Bangladeshis who were migrating to the country the right to citizenship. Theoretically, anyone with documents proving they have been in Pakistan since before 1978 is eligible for statehood. But this law is not always implemented, due to corruption and discrimination from other Pakistanis who feel Bengalis do not belong in their country.

Khaula Jamil was born and raised in Karachi, where she works as a freelance photojournalist

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